House Gallery is pleased to present Inner Space, an exhibition of new work by New York based artist Matt Jones. Jones’s paintings are meditations. They record repetitive, methodical movement, and are often the result of a single thought being turned over again and again. In building his Inner Space series, Jones transformed art-making into a kind of healing ritual, a practice for confronting, processing and purging his own thoughts and impulses in hopes of becoming more whole and of making work that reflected that wholeness. The resulting paintings suggest that mark making can be a healing habit.
Each Inner Space painting is monochromatic, the colors ranging from royal blue to dirt brown; sometimes a yellow will be partially invaded by a muddy green, but, for the most part, the colors stay pure and undefiled. Each painting seems to reverberating outward from a point near the center. They combine dense gatherings of intertwined lines, cross-hatched marks and fluid washes, giving them systematic texture but, more importantly, telling a story of accretions and convergences.
Jones began his current body of Inner Space paintings after hearing a lecture by Buddhist Psychotherapist Miles Neale on the effects of habitual behavior. We form patterns in our brains, and, often, these are negative, said Neale. But the individual has the agency to reverse destructive impulses by actively forming positive habits that supplant the destructive ones lodged in his or her psyche.
The stacked, rut-like marks and lyrical liquid runs of paint that characterize Jones’s work are the net effect of such supplanting. He uses an old wheel chair, as well as his own body, as his tools, riding over canvases that have been spread out on the floor again and again as he concentrates on whichever healing thought he wants to embed in himself, or on whichever sentiment he wants to purge from his mind. He continues until the paintings feel complete. Judging a work’s completeness means relying on instinct: if the density feels right, the marks seem poetic and yet still raw, and the evidence of movement is quieted by a feeling of tranquility, then a painting is likely finished.